Published On: Mon, Apr 10th, 2017

Moving From Rideshare Driver to Rideshare Entrepreneur

In less than a decade, the ridesharing industry has grown from an unknown, hardly functioning, local traffic solution to a massive, billion-dollar, global market. Thanks to smart technology, nearly every urban dweller has a rideshare app at their fingertips, and everyone at rideshare companies from top executives to brand-new drivers are cashing in. With autonomous vehicles on the horizon, ridesharing is expected to grow even more as car manufacturers begin licensing their own transportation systems.

Until then, ridesharing will continue to rely on legions of devoted freelance drivers. However, since the market should soon experience a significant upheaval, drivers should make plans to transition their hustles into more stable businesses. Here’s how.

Know the Roads

Rarely does an entrepreneur succeed within a market in which he or she has zero experience. Those who have lived and worked in ridesharing before breaking off to form their own businesses will have more insight into how good businesses function and what passengers and drivers need to succeed.

Most ridesharing drivers work for more than one app at a time. Uber and Lyft manage hundreds of thousands of drivers around the U.S., but alternative ridesharing organizations, like Wingz, Juno, Ride Austin, and Summon might give drivers more experience with smaller rideshare operations. Drivers might even consider becoming certified to drive taxis; although cabs are losing substantial business to ridesharing companies, understanding the roots of ridesharing might be beneficial.

Just as important as driving is riding as a passenger. Ridesharing apps are vastly different for drivers and passengers, but it is vital that user interfaces are equally easy to use on both sides. Spending time as a passenger will give aspiring rideshare entrepreneurs awareness of what passengers look for in their ridesharing experience, including car type, driver conversation, music, and other amenities. With experience as both a driver and a passenger, an entrepreneur is better equipped to develop a winning business.

innovation sign

photo/ Michael Jarmoluk via pixabay.com

Learn the Market

After gaining enough experience, entrepreneurs should spend some time developing their ridesharing ideas. Though the ridesharing industry is relatively new, it has grown explosively, so there is copious competition throughout the market. Therefore, entrepreneurs must work to distinguish their nascent rideshare businesses, so their companies will stand out and users will remember them.

Niches are the easiest way to find success in ridesharing. Instead of trying to compete directly with Uber and Lyft, entrepreneurs should consider addressing needs that those ridesharing goliaths miss. For example, there might be a need for ridesharing for minors, whose parents can’t accompany them to and from their destinations. Alternatively, there might be a need for a women-only rideshare network, to help women feel safer as they travel alone from here to there. Effective market research should help entrepreneurs identify such needs and other viable niches.

Finally, ridesharing entrepreneurs must be especially diligent in tracking trends. Because ridesharing is young and dependent on fickle technology, it is more than likely that it will change in the coming years. Autonomous driving tech already promises to revolutionize not just ridesharing but transportation as a whole. Entrepreneurs must be aware of emerging trends and competently predict their paths before they drown their budding businesses.

Build the Business

At this point, entrepreneurs should be able to apply the research they accrued to develop a strong and thorough business plan. A plan will include descriptions of its services, explanations of organization and management, sales strategies, projections for profits and growth, and more.

Entrepreneurs should consider using existing ridesharing models within their business plans, at least at the beginning. Then, they can take full advantage of tools designed to make breaking into the industry easier. For example, entrepreneurs can utilize a ride sharing app platform to facilitate building the necessary software for connecting drivers and passengers. Later, successful organizations might deviate from existing patterns and develop their own applications, but in the beginning, it is cost-effective and smart to deliver what users expect.

Further, in their business plans, entrepreneurs should define their brand. Using information about their desired niches, entrepreneurs should develop company names, logos, mottos, colors, and other brand assets that will attract their target audience. These materials will be used on all business materials, so it is crucial that they are formed with care.

Understand the Law

As the ridesharing industry grows, it garners more and more attention from lawmakers. Cars are dangerous ― physically and financially ― so legislators around the U.S. are moving to regulate who and what can work in ridesharing. Therefore, one of the most important trends ridesharing entrepreneurs must watch is ridesharing-related laws. It is essential that ridesharing companies adhere to existing and emerging laws, which might include acquiring certain certifications, checking backgrounds of drivers and passengers, or paying additional taxes or fees. For the safety of all ridesharers ― and all ridesharing businesses ― the law must be followed.

Author: Michael Ramos

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